China’s rich and profound culture has a long and storied history. Works of arts and crafts are artistic treasures that embody Chinese characteristics and carry forward the national spirit. They possess great aesthetic, technological, and historical significance. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Party and state leaders have paid great attention to the development of China’s arts and crafts undertakings, witnessing remarkable results. Chinese society is in the middle of a craftsmanship renaissance. The value of arts and crafts in contemporary society is being appreciated anew, as their integration of originality, artistry, and design are increasingly apparent.
With the profound support of the CPC Central Committee, master craftsmen, inheritors of intangible cultural heritage, and artisans from different regions and fields have actively devoted themselves to revitalizing traditional crafts. Adhering to the aspiration of creation and with consideration of the present, they integrate modern art with traditional techniques; make further breakthroughs related to their materials, techniques, forms, and content; and create a large number of works infused with national characteristics and contemporary connotations.
In 2019, the National Museum of China (NMC) held the exhibition “A New Chapter of the Era: The First NMC Invitational Exhibition of Arts and Crafts” to build a brand that discovers, exhibits, and collects outstanding works in the field of Chinese arts and crafts, thus displaying the latest achievements in the field. “The Second National Exhibition of Arts and Crafts and the Second NMC Invitational Exhibition of Arts and Crafts,” co-hosted by the NMC and the China Artists Association, marks not only a continuation and deepening of the exhibition brand, but also an enrichment and expansion of the system of expression and discourse for arts and crafts.
There are nearly 270 arts and crafts works on display. These works follow the creative concept of “unity of heart and hand,” take into account environmental characteristics and national customs, and integrate new techniques, materials, and creative approaches. With a focus on the inheritance and development of traditional craftsmanship and the artistic expression of modern aesthetics, these works interpret the craftsman’s spirit of constantly striving for perfection in a systematic and in-depth manner. Thus, ancient media and crafts are given new vitality. In addition, these works also reflect, to some extent, the latest attempts and explorations of arts and crafts artisans in promoting the creative transformation and innovative development of the best of traditional Chinese culture.
As the supreme palace of Chinese history, culture and art, the NMC is not only a collector and protector, but also a recorder, disseminator, and advocate of the greatest examples of traditional Chinese culture. The NMC has always been committed to supporting the development of China’s arts and crafts causes and building a high-level exchange and exhibition platform for the arts and crafts industry. We sincerely hope that this exhibition can lead audiences to develop an in-depth understanding of the spirit of Chinese aesthetics and further stimulate the creativity of artisans to create more outstanding pieces. The works, featuring a unity of ideology, artistry, and appreciation, will contribute to the expression of contemporary Chinese values, the spirit of Chinese culture, and the aesthetic pursuits of the Chinese people.